Trump asks for credit after UCLA players’ release from China

President Trump wants credit for the assist in helping to bring three UCLA basketball players home from China after they were arrested last week on suspicion of shoplifting.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” Trump tweeted.

Trump said on Tuesday that he had a long conversation with Chinese president Xi Jinping about the status of freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley. The trio’s trip to China with their UCLA squad took a turn when they were detained in Hanghzou for questioning following allegations of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store.

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LiAngelo Ball, teammates return from China
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LiAngelo Ball, teammates return from China
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill arrive to speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China, where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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A conviction for such a crime could have amounted to three to 10 years in prison.

However, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the matter “has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities.”

Ball, the son of outspoken celebrity basketball dad LaVar Ball and brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo, returned to Los Angeles with his two Bruins teammates Tuesday afternoon.

The players managed to ignore the media scrum that followed them through Los Angeles International Airport, but they may not be off the hook just yet.

The freshmen may still be disciplined by the school, which is slated to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

- With News Wire Services

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